Saturday, June 26, 2010

20. Raticate

Raticate, Raticate, baker’s man

Raticate may not seem like a Big Deal, but check his Pokedex entry in Gold and Silver: “It can even topple concrete buildings by gnawing on them.” Concrete buildings. Those are some intense incisors… but what else would you expect from a two foot tall, 40 lb rat?

Basically, Raticate is like the giant leader rat, Ben, in the rodent-horror movie Willard—either the 1971 film or the recent remake with Crispin Glover. Its haunting, accusatory stare was apparently such a hit, it got its own spinoff movie in 1972, and had a love song made about it by Michael Jackson.

I’m not making this up, that’s who the song was about. A big fictional rat in B-movies. Actually, given how it’s this malicious, corruptive character, it’s kind of interesting/awesome Jackson would be singing its odes and having a whole album named after it in his early years. Never too early for teen pop stars to get into the occult.

Now, what was I supposed to be writing about again? Oh right: Crispin Glover. He is pretty dreamy; you know you want that nose.

The Winner:
Red and Blue

Raticate’s sprite is actually pretty important, because it’s the first fully evolved pokemon you encounter in the games that isn’t, like, a butterfly or something. And so a little scariness goes a long way, since this thing should be able to dole out more damage than most other pokemon available at that point in the game, especially with Hyper Fang and whatnot.

So guess what the most critical design element is in a Raticate sprite? Hint: it’s not his potato shape or underbelly. It’s the teeth! Raticate should be as close as possible to a big, cavernous mouth with arms and legs. Think Kirby, but decrepit and deranged.

Red and Blue flat out got it best. You could lose an arm in that thing.


  1. Looking back, I wonder why I was so obsessed as a young female with a Pokemon like this...and then at the same time I refused to wear anything but frilly dresses. I guess it's the same reason why two of my favorite things are Victorian fashion and theropod dinosaurs.
    I guess inducing deep personal reflection wasn't really what you were trying to achieve with this blog, but I consider Raticate to be one of the symbols of my childhood.

  2. First of all, nostalgia and reflection are encouraged at all times.

    Second, when I was a kid I was really into three pillars of boyishness: Bugs, Dinosaurs, and Space. You can see how that translated into pokemon fandom, but when I'm not writing this (which is most of the time, as you can see), I am reading an endless procession of English romance novels for my major. I'm not sure how exactly that transition came about.

  3. I'd have to say I like the Gold sprite the best. It does the best job of giving raticate's body a bit of shape and flexibility rather than being a big lump. Red/Green isn't too bad, either. Most of the other sprites look like they're *attempting* to get close to scratch or bite you, but are unable to move due to lack of limbs.

    And Yellow's is clearly a zombie.

  4. ...Yeah, I'm not quite sure what's up with Yellow's sprite..
    First of all, what gave them the great idea to give you a flat, face-on, two-dimensional view of those huge teeth? I really don't like that. Raticate deserves more than that.
    Then... What?
    Why is it green?
    Why is the two-foot tall RAT.. GREEN?
    And, I agree with Hlavco, why is it making a zombie pose?
    ...They really screwed up with that one.

  5. I kind of like the R/S sprite, with its threateningly outstretched arm. And Silver makes me picture some kind of Raticate blimp, which is AWESOME.

  6. Personally I think R/G has the best sprite, because Silver and HG/SS look like it tripped or something, and it makes it seem clumsy, D/P looks like it's about to topple over, FR/LG looks like it's going swimming or something, I don't know WHAT's up with R/S, Gold is just dancing, Yellow looks like a Zombie, and when I first saw R/B I thought, "Somebody needs to give that thing some braces!"

  7. That level 13 Raticate with Hyper Fang at Mt. Moon in R/B was a goddamn nightmare, likely an ancestor of Whitney's Miltank

  8. Pokemon - Emerald - Hack (all pokemons) GBA ROM+SAVE+CHEAT